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Old 06-04-2008, 09:27 AM   #21
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Rapoole, if you are still out there, I had a question. Would you really take a 90% pay cut for an AUSA position? Is it 10x better than a firm, or am I just looking at it the wrong way? Hope you are enjoying your new life!
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Law Firm/AUSA
Old 06-04-2008, 01:42 PM   #22
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Law Firm/AUSA

Hello Hoping.

In deciding whether to make the jump to an AUSA job, I took into account the fact that your financial position was already pretty secure. I got that from reading other forums here.

I took the 90% pay cut with a grain of salt. I am retiring at the top of the salary scale - $150K. I am retiring with a pension and lifetime health benefits. Not many criminal litigators even at big firms earn 10 times that much with comparable benefits.

If the USAO is bringing you in at a much lower salary, your raises will come fast in the early years. You will have job security. You will have interesting work (most of the time). Chances are you will have the option to retire after 20 years with a pension on an early out offer.

Law firm existence is pretty grim in my experience, and the headlines bear that out. Job security appears illusory. Defined benefit plans are the exception. Most people I know at firms are locked into the high cost lifestyle choices that would make early retirement impossible.

So, would I really take a 90% cut? The answer is, how much do you need the money today (you indicated substantial savings and high-earning spouse), how much do you really like what you are doing now (I am guessing you are ambivalent at best), and where do you want to be in 5, ten and 20 years? I don't know of any classmates who at 55 are walking away from their present career with an income, substantial savings, health insurance, and the freedom to start anew. Which is what I am doing. Your mileage may vary.

Best,
rapoole
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New Life
Old 06-04-2008, 01:51 PM   #23
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New Life

Cleaning out the office today with a song in my heart.

New life begins Friday afternoon.

rapoole
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:51 PM   #24
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Rapoole, Thanks for the thoughtful response. It really is a 90% pay cut, actually even more than 90%. Assuming I eventually make it to the 150k mark, which will take a while given where I am starting, it would be an 80+% pay cut. I keep getting stuck on the fact that if I stay with my firm another year or so, I will likely have over $5.5 million, more than enough to retire comfortably. But then I think about the fact that I am young and, if I had a job I loved, I probably could work at least another 10 years. My firm may be an exception to the rule, but we have great benefits, a defined benefit pension plus 401k, job security, etc. So the question is whether I will love the AUSA job so much that it will compensate for everything I would give up. Never having been a prosecutor, I am finding it very difficult to make that assessment. Thanks again for your insights.
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Old 06-04-2008, 02:01 PM   #25
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Hoping

Being an AUSA is still a job and you will still have bosses. It's a question only you can answer.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:51 AM   #26
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Hoping - I am hoping that your spouse is on-board with the traveling requirements that rapoole mentioned, that would have caused some stress in the marriage. I would never take a traveling j*b. Good luck with your decision.
Rapoole - Congrats on your FIREing and enjoy the kayaking!
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:57 AM   #27
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BigBob, the AUSA job, unlike Rapoole's job, would not require much travel. Rapoole was based at DOJ in DC and had cases all over the country. An AUSA is limited to a certain district. If I stay at my present job, I will have a lot more travel, both for my cases and cross-country to see DH. That's one of the main reasons for me to take the AUSA job. Thanks!
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